What types of stanzas are there


A verse is the arrangement of a certain number of verses (lines of verse) in a self-contained form. The stanza is subordinate to a higher metric unit, such as the poem or the song. That means, that a lyric text consists of stanzas composed of verses.

Originally the word comes verse from the choir lyric and lets himself with turn translate (gr .: στροφή ~ strophē). The stanza referred to the change in direction of the choir in a round dance in Greek drama. This change was usually accompanied by a change in the singing.

In the 17th century, the term found its way into German via French. Up to this point the names were daz liet in Middle High German or piece, Volumes, Laws or verse Common in master singing when a collection of lines of verse has been described.

Note: Nowadays the term “verse” is understood to mean the individual line of a poem, whereby a “stanza” is formed from several such verses. Only in the hymn do you still speak of verse when describing the stanza. (→ verse)

The stanza in the poem

The individual stanzas within a poem are separated from one another by a paragraph. Hence we could also speak of the sections of a poem.

To clarify what has been written, we would like to take a look at an example. For this we have the first two stanzas from Heinrich HeinesThe brown rats elected.

There are two types of rats:
The hungry and full.
The full ones stay happily at home,
But the hungry emigrate.

They wander many thousands of miles
Without resting or resting,
Straight ahead in their fierce course,
It is not stopped by wind or weather.

In this example, the stanza-like structure of a poem is quite clear. We have two stanzas (aabb and ccdd), which are each formed by four verses, i.e. lines. These verses are arranged in paired rhymes (→ rhyme scheme).

The stanza in narrower Senses

In German lessons, all verse units of a poem are generally referred to as a stanza. In a strict sense, however, a stanza should have some characteristics.

Because in a narrower sense a stanza means that there are also similar features in the verse units. We can determine these using a common rhyme scheme, meter (→ meter), an identical number of verses or the length of the verses.

In the above excerpt from the Brown rats For example, there are four verses in each stanza, so the number is constant. Furthermore, a continuous pair rhyme can be made out in all stanzas and the length of the verses (number of syllables) is similar.

If there are no similarities or continuous features that can be identified in the respective stanzas, it makes more sense to use the Sections of a Poem to speak. However, if there are only a few deviations from a superordinate form, this must be emphasized in an investigation (→ poem analysis).

Different stanza shapes and patterns

If certain characteristics can be recognized within a stanza, we can arrange them in a certain pattern. Here we speak of the stanza form.

Such forms are mostly found in traditional lyric poetry and are characterized by a very strict meter or a certain rhyme scheme that deviates from the usual rhyme schemes and is only used repeatedly in this stanza form.

The most common stanza forms here are the stanza, the folk song stanza, the Italian terzine, the Chevy Chase stanza and, furthermore, the folk song stanza and ode stanza.

The most important things at a glance
  • The stanza is the arrangement of a particular Number of lines of verse in a poem.
  • Basically a poem therefore consists of stanzascomposed of verses.
  • However, if there are no similar characteristics (meter, rhyme scheme, rhythm) within the individual stanzas, it is better to use the Sections of a Poem to speak.